Curriculum Vitae - Alan Murphy

as at December 1998

Well you asked for it - here is all the boring stuff about me !

This page contains the following info:
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Oct 1943Born, at Prescot, Merseyside
1954-1962Educated at The Wallasey (Grammar) School
1962-65Studying Physics at Wadham College, Oxford at the University of Oxford
1965-1997Employed by IBM UK at the development labs, IBM Hursley Park
1968-69Diploma in Machine Intelligence and Perception, University of Edinburgh
1994-95Diploma of Software Engineering, see Oxford University Computing Laboratory courses.
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I graduated from the University of Oxford in 1965 with a BA in Physics and in 1969 obtained a Diploma in Machine Intelligence and Perception from the University of Edinburgh.

I have more than 31 years experience in the computing industry, ranging from the logic design of processors, machine and high level language programming. In IBM I have worked on various advanced technology projects, a number of mapping and graphics applications and the 3730 office system. For 18 years I was a member of the Hursley Human Interface Design department supporting many Hursley developed products by helping with the design of user interfaces. In recent years these have included the 3250, GDDM, OS/2-PM, CICS. During 1988/90 I was part of a joint IBM project with Queen Mary College which examined the user requirements for systems supporting real-time cooperative working between users. I have also undertaken a number of evaluations of competitive products. In 1995 I completed and obtained the Postgraduate Diploma in Software Engineering from the University of Oxford.

Although I have experience in many aspects of the Human Factors of computing systems, my specialist subjects are in user interface design, the usability testing of software products and the ergonomics of graphic input pointing devices. Other experience includes customer and user requirements gathering, task analysis, user interface modelling and prototyping etc.

I am a member of the ISO working group ISO/TC159/SC4/WG3 which deals with the ergonomics of non-keyboard input devices (mice, joysticks, light pens, tablets, etc.). My main contribution is the Normative Annex 'A' of ISO 9241 Part 9 concerning performance test methods. I also have a working knowledge of several other Parts of the ISO 9241 standard.

I have spent much time testing the usability of software and have developed a number of methods for assessing and measuring software usability. I led a small team which provided support for test procedures, questionnaire design, observation and logging techniques. I also managed the use of the IBM Hursley video laboratory for usability testing. The careful testing of products at all stages of design identifies usability problems which can then be fixed resulting in a more usable product.

Although the majority of my clients were Hursley product developers, I have also provided advice and work with a number of external organisations, other IBM laboratories and customer programming departments.

My programming skills range from hardware microcode and assembly language to various object oriented programming languages.

From May 1997 to September 2001, I have spent much of my time fitting out a 27’ sailing yacht. "Wildiris" was launched in October 2001. Since retiring in 1997 I have developed a GPS utility program for handling navigational information.

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1959O-Levels (Wallasey Grammar School, Wallasey, Cheshire):
Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Art, English Language, Literature, History, French, Latin, General Paper
1961A-Levels (Wallasey Grammar School):
Maths, Physics, Chemistry
1961S-Levels: Further Maths, Chemistry
1962Open Minor Scholarship, Wadham College, Oxford
1965BA (Hons) Physics (Wadham College, University of Oxford)
1969Diploma in Machine Intelligence & Perception with distinction (University of Edinburgh)
1995Postgraduate Diploma in Software Engineering
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1965Fortran (Scientific calculations)
1967-68IBM Model 40 Microcode
1969POP2, University of Edinburgh
1972-85APL - extensively used for modelling activities
1974-77IBM 3730 programming language
1984Pascal, IBM (not extensive used)
1986C, IBM (not extensive used)
1985-90SMALLTALK - with QMC, London University
1990-94BASIC - Modelling activites
1994-95Visual Basic - User Interface Designs
1995-HTML - Web pages
1996-CGI (Perl) - Server Code
1997-Delphi - at home
Plus various dabbling with Java, Z etc.

My favourites languages are POP2, APL and more recently Delphi (Object Pascal).

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WORK LOG Prior to 1997

(In reverse date order)

IBM User Interface Design (Jan '90 - May '97)

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Project Engineer supporting various projects being developed within IBM Hursley. My role was to provide consultancy for User Interface design, Human factors, User Centered Design and Usability testing. This work involves gathering user requirements, task analysis, interface design, modelling, prototyping with users and usability testing. I have used a number of prototyping tools, such as Visual Basic for testing alternative user interface designs. Recent products I was working on included the System Management software for transaction processing software (CICS). In addition provided a number of projects with world-wide web pages written in HTML.

As a leader of the HID support team I was resonsible for managing many of the resources and support services for the rest of the department, particularly the Human Factors test laboratory (or video studio). This involves ensuring that machines are available for experimental purposes, the test facility is operational, managing the information on the communal file server and the coordination of departmental software.

IBM and Queen Mary College (Jan '88 - Dec '89)

Multimedia and Cooperative Working (CSCW)
I was involved with a joint project between IBM Hursley and Queen Mary College, London University, to examine systems which support cooperative working between users. The concepts and design of the prototype system were developed jointly in brainstorming sessions. Much of the time was spent interacting with the Univeristy team and discussing the implications for future CSCW products. The work resulted in a demonstration prototype which we videoed. I also took the role of Director in the production of this video.

IBM Human Factors - Software (Jan '85 - Dec '89)

Software Usability
I began testing a number of software products for usability and started to develop suitable testing methods. In particular, we became concerned about developments in user interface technologies, windowing systems and graphical user interfaces. During this time, I performed a number of usability evaluations of competitive equipment. In addition I studied the concepts of object oriented programming and the SMALLTALK programming language. On major activity was associated with the design and user testing of the OS/2 Presentation Manager product - a joint activity between IBM Hursley, the IBM development lab in Boca Raton and Microsoft.

IBM Human Factors (Sep '78 - Dec '84)

Hardware Human Factors
I joined the Human factors department and became involved with testing various products. Initially these were mainly hardware, keyboards, the 2250 light pen, displays etc. During this time I acquired skills in the testing and comparison of several graphical pointing devices, including thumbwheels, mice, trackerballs, tablets etc. I also was involved with the human factor aspects of displays (contrast, flicker, legibility etc).

IBM Hursley (Jun '77 - Aug '78)

I worked on the overall design of the 36HU project - this was a machine intended specifically for the mapping and graphics market. The work was a mixture of design, hardware development and programming.

IBM Hursley (Sep '74 - Jun '77)

I was involved in the programming of the 3730 office sytem. This was mainly assembler programming, but I had already built up a reasonable amount of experience in using APL from my previous work and was able to use APL to model many of the algorithms used - much of the work was concerned with 2 dimensional coordinate geometry and APL proved very convenient for checking the algorithms before committing them to assembler coding.

IBM -Industry Systems (Jun '71 - Sep '74)

Industry Systems
The Government Industry systems department mission was to develop specific products tailored to the government and local government needs. During this time I undertook a number of surveys and customer visits over both Europe and the USA. I concentrated on mapping and graphic aspects of the job and was involved with the design proposals for several graphic displays. Much of this work involved processing market data - I became proficient in APL programming during this time.

IBM Hursley (Sep '69 - Jun '71)

Logic development
I worked on the 'Functional Memory' projects at Hursley for 2 years. This work concerned the design and development of programmable logic arrays - components used in the logic designs. At the end of this period I helped in the transfer of knowledge to IBM Boulder, Colorado.

University of Edinburgh (Sep '68 - Sep '69)

Postgraduate course
I took unpaid leave of absence from IBM for a year in order to study for a diploma in Machine Intelligence and Perception at the University of Edinburgh. This course concentrated on various aspects of artificial intelligence, modern programming techniques, picture interpretation and robotics. My final term project was concerned with heuristic aspects of picture interpretation, as related to robot vision systems. I was awarded a distinction the end of the course and later asked to work at the University's astrophysics department on problems concerned with the machine interpretation of stellar photographs.

IBM Hursley (Sep '66 - Sep '68)

The period was spent on writing machine microcode for the low speed multiplex channels of the 360/40I dual processor. This processor was a development of the 360/40 and incorporated failsafe and backup features. The microcode was a special internal form of programming for the Model 40, but it involved knowing about 360/370 architecture. I spent some of the period on system test, doing shift work.

IBM Hursley (Sep '65 - Sep '66)

Logic Design
My first period with IBM was working on the hardware logic design of the High-Speed Multiplex channels of the 360/44 machine. Then I progressed to the hardware design of the memory protect feature. This involved learning the 360 machine code architecture and being able to code in machine code, assembler etc.

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